Netanyahus blast ‘defamation campaign’ over recording of Sara haranguing aide

In newly released audiotape from 2009, PM’s wife is heard screaming at an adviser over a media item she called unfair

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara Netanyahu, is seen at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, on October 13, 2016. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara Netanyahu, is seen at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, on October 13, 2016. (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)

The Netanyahu family on Sunday claimed it was the victim of a “nasty defamation campaign” and lamented “the violation of all the norms of privacy” in regards to the prime minister’s relatives, after an audiotape emerged of Sara Netanyahu screaming at an adviser over a publication she viewed as unflattering.

The Walla news site published the tape, recorded in 2009, in which the prime minister’s wife is heard speaking to one of the family’s top advisers about an item published about her in a gossip column (the particular media platform is not identified).

Walla news noted that the tiny 44-word piece was complimentary to Netanyahu, stating that she had recently decided to lend a hand to a fundraising event at her children’s school.

However, the brief story apparently raised Netanyahu’s ire because it did not mention that she was a psychologist, and contained a passage stating that “the title of prime minister’s wife brings with it an obligation of civic involvement.”

In the tape Netanyahu can be heard doing a mock imitation of the media to the unidentified adviser: “‘Darfur refugees need help.'” She then exclaims: “I do that! As a professional woman, as an ed-u-ca-ted woman! A psy-cho-lo-gist!”

She goes on to shout out her academic achievements: “BA! MA! That’s it!”

Netanyahu demands to know if the editor of the piece will be getting a reprimand from the adviser. “Besides, this phrasing: ‘The prime minister’s wife (title) brings with it an obligation for civic involvement.’

“Why? Why?” she asks, before screaming: “This prime minister’s wife does civic work every day! In her professional work!” This is followed by further unintelligible shouting.

The (Hebrew) recording can be heard here:

The Netanyahu family, which recently was forced to deal with an embarrassing recording of the prime minister’s son Yair in which he can be heard making disparaging comments about women during a night out at Tel Aviv strip joints with two friends, responded furiously to the new tape.

“We have had it with secret recordings and the violation of all the norms of privacy for the purpose of defaming the Netanyahu family, and only the Netanyahu family,” it said in a statement.

“For years the prime minister’s wife Sara Netanyahu has dedicated a significant portion of her time to treating children, their families and their entire surrounding environment as an expert psychologist, a fact the media prefers to hide along with varied public activities Mrs. Netanyahu has engaged in, including those for Holocaust survivors, lone soldiers, children with cancer and bereaved families.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, his wife Sara (c) and their son Yair at Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem on December 8, 2013. (Haim Zach/GPO/Flash90)

“This is a prejudiced, nasty item of a secret recording made nine years ago! The recording contains nothing of public interest and no value whatsoever, and is nothing but sensationalist gossip, the only purpose of which is continuous nasty defamation campaign against the Netanyahu family.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a personal statement, called the recording “a continuation of the uninhibited violent hunt” against his family. “What ‘great discovery’ was made this time?” Netanyahu asked. “Are there those who never get angry and say some words they did not mean in a moment of anger?”

The prime minister asserted that it was “only in the case of my family that this is made a lead news headline, and is used as a a platform of attack in the ongoing effort to bring down my government through means other than elections.”

Sara Netanyahu has often been in the news over allegations of mistreatment and abusive behavior of former employees. One, Menny Naftali, a former caretaker, was awarded NIS 170,000 in compensation (about $43,735) in 2016 for mistreatment while he was working at the Prime Minister’s Residence. Another, Shira Raban, recently filed a lawsuit over similar claims.

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